- 22 -
Instead of saying anything to me, Peter squealed away from the curb, keeping his eyes locked on the road in front of us. His jaw tensed, and he gripped the wheel tightly.
The car was completely full of the tantalizing scent of him, and my mouth actually started to salivate. We had never been in such close quarters before, and it felt like a bad idea.
Even as close as I was to him, my heart tugged on me to move closer, to reach out and brush my hand against his flawless skin, so I clasped my hands together.
“I just got back,” Peter said at length.
The silence felt thick and overwhelming, but I couldn’t think of anything to fill it with. My head swam. I felt the hunger for him, burning and frantic, like a rush of adrenaline, only much more intoxicating. By the time we’d get to his house, I’d be delirious with him.
“We need to talk,” Peter murmured huskily, allowing his haunting gaze to settle on me for a moment.
In my mind, I’d been imagining the conversation with him over and over again. Although since I’d kissed Jack, I’d been envisioning it with me rejecting him, instead of persuading him to be with me.
Once I was with him, filled with his lust, I couldn’t imagine not being with Peter. Every part of me screamed that I really had been made for him, no matter what my heart said when he wasn’t around.
Despite his proclamation that we needed to talk, he said nothing for the remainder of the car ride.
I couldn’t take my eyes off him, and I barely noticed his lack of attention towards me. The days away from him had made me forget how absolutely breathtaking he was.
When we got to his house, the tiniest part of me that wasn’t completely enamored with him felt trepidation at seeing Jack. I had no idea how he would react, but fortunately, he wasn’t around. I imagined that he was in the house somewhere, but since Peter eclipsed everything for me, I couldn’t feel him anxiously hiding nearby.
Mae and Ezra were in the living room, but I barely noticed the tentative way they eyed us up as we walked up the stairs to his room. Peter still hadn’t said anything to me, but I followed one step behind him, as if he led me on a string.
“I don’t know what they’ve been telling you while I was gone,” Peter told me finally. I had sat down on the edge of his bed, and he stood on the other side of his room, his arms crossed firmly over his chest and refusing to look at me. “But this cannot work.”
I tried to play innocent, but there was already a welling despair inside me. It seemed ridiculous since I had survived all this time without him. There had been a constant dull ache, but it was nothing that I couldn’t live with.
But when I was with him, the thought of being without him felt unbearable.
“It’s not the same as it was before,” he explained quietly. “The way I feel about you, it’s not right. My body insists that it’s you, but the rest of me…” He shook his head. “I don’t think I should be around you anymore.”
“Are you banning me from the house?” I had just come to terms with what was happening, and he was going to take everything away from me.
“I think that this is an impossible situation.” He looked over at me, his eyes betraying the hurt and want he had for me. “I can’t be with you, and Jack can’t be with you. He’s tried to hide his feelings about you from me, but I know he feels something for you. Neither of us can be with you, so having you around would be torture.”
“That isn’t fair!” I jumped to my fee, and already hot tears sliced down my cheeks. He had a finality to his voice that devastated me. “Do they all agree with you? They can’t! Ezra-”
“They support my decision,” Peter cut me off decisively. “All of them are very fond of you, but it can’t work. And since you are ‘mine,’ it’s up to me what we do with you.”
“‘What you do with me?’” I sobbed. “This is my life! Why do you get to decide what is done with me?”
“Your life is my life. That’s how this works.”
“Then isn’t your life mine?” I clenched my fists, trying desperately to find some ground to stand on.
“That’s not how this works,” Peter shook his head. “You are human. You have no standing over us.”
“So you’re all just …”
The room was spinning, and I rested my hand on the bed to keep from collapsing. He was going to take everything from me. The insistent way my body begged for him, the way my heart longed for Jack, the comfort I gained from Mae and Ezra, and the glorious future I had just mapped out for myself.
With his simple, cold words, he was ripping everything away. The ground felt like it was giving way from underneath me, and I had to swallow hard to keep from vomiting.
“Alice, we never meant to hurt you.” He sounded sad, but I could barely see him through my own tears.
Part of me wanted to run through house searching for Jack. I knew he would fight for me, make them change their minds, but I felt too weak. More than that, if Peter didn’t want me, it didn’t even seem worth fighting for.
“You’re killing me,” I mumbled.
Then it dawned on me. It felt like he was literally killing me. Every part of me, physical and otherwise, was in pain. But I knew that inside him there was a primal hunger for me. I saw how fierce it had been in Jack’s eyes, and it had to be stronger in Peter.